Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sweet Woodside May 7

A slow start, hard to get above launch and stay there, but eventually Al, Guy, Mark, and myself got up to cloudbase around 1300m and then over the back to Agassiz Mountain.  Pretty straightforward flight to Agassiz, Bear, and Ludwig, except the winds were all over the place making the thermals hard to figure out sometimes.  But it "turned on" by the time we reached Ludwig and then it was the straight run with hardly any turning all the way to Elk, where I had to decide whether to make the return crossing to Woodside now or later.  Going now would mean I'd have the advantage of the clouds still forming in the middle of the valley, but a lower base in general.  Waiting would mean a higher base but more valley wind and no clouds to mark any remaining valley lift.

I decided now was the time so I headed off with 1500m of altitude and almost immediately I found lots of sink.  But I pushed on, hoping one of the clouds forming over Rosedale would be working, and I was able to milk some lift from 800m back up to 1200m.  Unfortunately the valley winds had kicked in so by the time I topped out I had drifted downwind to almost Harvest Market, not the ideal place to try to make it around the corner to Woodside!

Almost made it to the south knob but the wind was whipping around the corner so I ended up landing in Harvest West LZ in about 25 kph of west wind.  Meanwhile Al had landed on the south side of the Fraser River and Guy had landed in Agassiz.  Mark landed at Seabird Island.  A later group had a higher base for the jumping-off point at Elk (1700m) but still nobody made it around the corner of Woodside...Gary Penninga landed close to where I had landed a few hours before but most others landed at Harvest Market.  Kevin got really close but landed just short of Riverside, landing on the south side of the river so required a longer retrieve.  Too bad the river sandbars aren't still attached to the mainland...we could have pushed it a bit more and perhaps made it back to Woodside proper!

52km FAI triangle.


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